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Miniskirts Are Back in Fashion (June 18, 2003)

mini skirt and sandal

Hot this summer: miniskirts and sandals
For some years now, skirt lengths have been hovering in the midi-to-long range, but recently there have been signs of a miniskirt revival. The first miniskirt craze, which started back in the 1960s, was sparked by the British model Twiggy. In subsequent miniskirt booms, this fashion item has had a somewhat retro feel. Miniskirts came back into vogue for a time in the 1980s and again in the 1990s. And now it seems that hemlines are rising yet again: The presence of miniskirts in the spring-summer 2003 collections of many designers has touched off another miniskirt revival. Miniskirts have been selling well at department stores ever since winter, while the weather was still cold. Now the stores devote half of their skirt sales areas to minis.

Most Favor Sporty Designs
Speaking of revivals, Pink Lady, the miniskirted pop duo who took Japan by storm in the 1970s, are getting back together for the first time in 22 years to do a nationwide concert tour starting in June. Both ladies have managed to keep their stunning figures even at the age of 45, and naturally they will appear on stage in miniskirts. Other stars have made public appearances in miniskirts as well. Actress Arisa Mizuki wore daring microminis to both a premier reception for the movie Bokunchi (My House), in which she stars, and the production launch for the TV series Diamond Girl. Having received the seal of approval from superstars like this, the miniskirt is now officially back in fashion.

The style of skirt described as a "mini" comes in a wide range of lengths, from a thigh-baring 35 centimeters to a just-above-the-knee 48 centimeters. The ages of the wearers vary as well, from teenagers through to women in their thirties. Minis have also become popular among preteen girls, and skirts designed for what is known in Japanese as the "junior" apparel market, which is flourishing, have been selling briskly. The miniskirt boom has even spread to school uniforms. Authorities at some high schools report being troubled by an increase in the number of girls shortening their uniform skirts to mini length.

Miniskirts come in a variety of materials and styles, from romantic chiffon to casual denim to tennis-style skirts made of sweatshirt fabric that make it easy to move. Though the current minis have a retro feel, the styles currently on the streets do not go all the way back to the sixties. There has been a revival of the "body-conscious" minis that were popular during the 1980s, but the prevailing preference is for sporty designs that are not overly sexy. Indeed, fashion in general has recently become infused with a sporty aesthetic, and this seems to be paving the way for minis to gain acceptance even among women who have never worn them before. The new minis are being worn with a cheerful, sporty flair that does not overstress the wearer's femininity.

Sandals the Perfect Partner
The latest miniskirt craze has also sparked a boom in sandal sales. Though sandals do not usually appear in stores until early summer, this year's notably skin-baring offerings had already hit the stores in May - even the department stores, which tend to be more conservative in their product selections. Stores are recommending sandals as the ideal shoes to complement miniskirts. Also flying off the shelves are sandal decorations known as "leg accessories," which allow wearers to revamp the sandals they own already rather than buying a whole new pair. These accessories, made with a variety of decorative materials including lace and sequins, are placed over the top of the foot along the straps. Priced from a few hundred yen (a couple of US dollars) to ¥2,000 ($16 at ¥120 to the dollar), they offer miniskirt wearers the easiest and most affordable way to match their sandals with their outfit without buying a new pair of shoes.

Leg accessories have put stylish footwear within the reach of a wider range of consumers. Leg accessories for use with winter boots have also come out. These new fashion items look set to help fuel the miniskirt revival and keep it going through the summer and beyond.

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Copyright (c) 2004 Web Japan. Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.

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